Thursday, August 23, 2012

293 (2012 #38). Heart of the Matter

by Emily Giffin 

Tessa Russo is a former professor, now stay-at-home mom to two young children, and the wife of a successful (and handsome) pediatric plastic surgeon, Nick. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie, who has never known his father. Charlie is burned in an accident and Nick becomes his doctor. I think you can see where this is heading.

Author Emily Giffin tells the story in chapters that alternate between the viewpoint of Tessa (in first person) and Valerie (in third person). The reader doesn’t hear about Nick’s thoughts and his motivations are only guessed at by the other characters. However, this book is chick lit, so this is not surprising.

I really did not like either of the main characters. Tessa whines about her life but doesn’t do anything to change it. She hangs around with shallow, wealthy women. She does something at the end of the book that’s disappointing, but fits in with her character.

Valerie isn’t much better, although I could understand her efforts to pretend that what she’s doing is okay. Nick is no prize, and I honestly think both women would be better off without him. The situation is somewhat unresolved at the end of the book, but none of these characters are compelling enough to make me interested in a sequel.

So why did I read this unsatisfying book? I read it for an online book discussion. The discussion fizzled out in five days with only five posts and two participants.

This was my first Emily Giffin novel (and likely my last). Tessa is the sister of Dex, a character from one of Giffin’s other novels. I didn’t feel like Dex or his wife Rachel added much to this story. I like the simple, consistent designs of the covers of her novels – but that’s not enough to get me to read another one. Apparently her fans feel her other books were better.

 Bottom line: Not recommended.

Edited to add:  Given the way Ms. Giffin, her husband, and her assistant reacted to a mild (no personal attacks) negative review of her latest book, there is NO WAY I will ever read another one of her books.

© Amanda Pape - 2012

[This book was borrowed from and returned to the local public library.]

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